[UPDATE] A translation one of the original reports was not entirely accurate regarding the claims levied against Quantic Dream co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere. A translation originally claimed that the executive was accused of “pushing kisses” on employees during parties. But the more accurate translation relates to the tradition of air-kissing when people meet. de Fondaumiere stands accused of taking this to a more inappropriate level, though he told Eurogamer, “Please note I categorically refute all allegations, in particular ‘hitting on staff.'”
The original story is below.
Quantic Dream, the French studio headed by David Cage and responsible for games like Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and the upcoming Detroit: Become Human, has found itself in the middle of controversy over claims that it has an unhealthy working culture. Reports published in French media today, translated and reported on by Eurogamer, accuse Quantic Dream and co-founders Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumiere of acting inappropriately. Cage and de Fondaumiere told French newspaper Le Monde that they are “very surprised” and “shocked” by what they called “rantings” of developers who have since left the studio. Quantic Dream put out a statement today, January 14, responding to what it described as “various allegations” against it, denying everything.
“We categorically deny all of these allegations,” the statement says. “Quantic Dream filed a complaint several months ago and further complaints will follow. We invite interested parties to read the response of our Employee Representative and Health & Security Committee to questions submitted by the journalists prior to publication. Inappropriate conduct or practices have no place at Quantic Dream.”
“We have taken and always will take such grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Quantic Dream. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games.”
One part of the report is regarding hundreds of photoshopped images that show some of Quantic Dream’s “collaborators” in sexual positions and with references to homophobic or sexist slurs,” Le Monde reported. These images, which reportedly date back to 2013, were apparently sent in group emails and even made their way to Cage and de Fondaumiere. It was in early 2017 that many of the images were discovered, at which time complaints were made. According to the report, Cage and de Fondaumiere said they only saw the images that “were funny or more or less amusing” before that time.
Also in the reports, it is claimed that Cage demands long hours from his employees and does not always listen to others. He also stands accused of making dirty jokes and not doing enough to consider the opinions of female colleagues. Quantic Dream has a staff of around 180 people; around 83 percent are male, apparently.
For his part, Cage said the claims are “ridiculous, absurd, and grotesque.” He added: “You want to talk about homophobia? I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights. You want to talk about racism? I work with Jesse Williams, who fights for civil rights in the USA… Judge me by my work.”
de Fondaumiere is alleged to have hit on staff at parties. He said in response, “It’s absolutely false. None of any of this happened at any evening event.”
You can read Eurogamer’s full report here, while stories in the French media (which are published in French), can be read through the links below. Note that some of the stories contain images that may not be safe for work.
- Le Monde
- Canard PC
Quantic Dream’s next game is Detroit: Become Human, which arrives this year for PlayStation 4. It tells the story of androids who are coming to terms with their own sentience.